Bagnaia and Villa Lante

Villa Lante | Bagnaia
Villa Lante | Bagnaia

Distance: 23 Km.

Since the 13th century, Bagnaia had been the personal fief of the bishops of Viterbo. The Villa Lante was thus not created by lay princes such as Orsini or Gonzagues, but by men of the Church.

The Villa Lante is the work of two bishops of Viterbo who succeeded each other on the city's episcopal throne. The combination of Gambara, a mature man, and Montalto, an adolescent, would produce one of the strangest Italian villas and one of the strangest Italian parks.

To create this work, Gambara called on one of the great architects of his era, Giacomo Barozzi, known as "Il Vignola". Il Vignola worked in close collaboration with an acclaimed specialist, Pirro Ligorio, to deliver yet again a sort of initiatory path with surprises and shocks. A hydraulics specialist had to be added, a man from Sienna called Thomaso Chiruchi. It was he who adjusted the waterworks to perfection.

It should be noted that after having been the episcopal see, the villa was sold to the Duke of Lante in the 17th century. The villa was described by Montaigne. It was one of the residences he explored during his trip to Italy.

In the eyes of many, this is the consummate example of the best period in the history of garden design: the Mannerist phase of the Italian renaissance. The buildings are treated as garden ornaments, illustrating a good principle. Every aspect of the garden is perfectly proportioned and richly detailed: a square terrace subdivided into smaller squares, a water parterre, a wonderful fountain in a central position. A grotto sits at the summit of the hill, from which flows water which is full of delight.

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